Council makes symbolic gesture to pass on pay hike
Savings may go to support student nutrition
(Written Feb. 8 for Town Crier.)
Councillor Mike Del Grande led charge to freeze politicians' pay for 2011.
Council voted almost unanimously today not to accept a cost of living increase with many saying that they needed to set an example for city employees going into a year of contract negotiations.
This year, the city will be negotiating a number of new contracts including one with the TTC as that contract expires at the end of March, and CUPE Local 416’s contract including garbage collectors is up at the end of 2011.
“When those (contract) negotiations start, the first thing everyone will look at is what have we done with respect to our leadership on this,” said budget chief Mike Del Grande during the debate.
He said refusing this 2.6 percent cost of living increase sets the right tone since they are seeking budget cutbacks from city departments and asking employees to show restraint in wage demands.
“We have asked for sacrifices throughout the system and we can start with ourselves,” he said after the vote. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged council, cut, freeze, hike, increase, Joe Mihevc, Kris Scheuer, Mike Del Grande, nutrition, pay, salary, student, Toronto, Town Crier
Day after TTC fare hike announced, city finds cash to avoid increase
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 11)
TTC chair Karen Stintz announced today a transit fare hike is cancelled, which should keep more riders using the city's transit network. Photo by Kris Scheuer.
Looks like there won’t be a TTC fare increase after all.
One day after Mayor Rob Ford begrudgingly announced a 10 cent transit hike to make up a $24 million budget gap the city declared its delivering an extra $16 million to the TTC and will let the transit commission axe $8 million in unspecified cuts at a later date.
“Fare increases and service cuts are the last options the TTC looks at,” TTC chair Karen Stintz told the Town Crier. “We want to make sure the fares remain affordable for those who are dependent on transit.”
The cancellation was made possible after city staff was able to find the money needed to keep fares at current levels.
“The city manager was able to identify the $16 million so that our (TTC) subsidy could be increased and we were able to manage ($8 million) through unspecified cuts,” said Stintz.“We have $8 million that we will have to manage (cut) throughout the year. It won’t be a service cut.”
TTC spokesperson Brad Ross didn’t have details on where the $8 million in cuts would come from, but hoped to have more information on Wednesday when the TTC meets to vote on its budget.
Mayor asking other departments to cut more to avoid fare hike
(Written Jan. 10 for Town Crier.)
Mayor Ford announces the preliminary 2011 city budget. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
Today, Toronto got its first glance at a budget under Mayor Rob Ford.
The bad news is TTC is proposing a 10 cent fare hike and reduced bus service on more than 45 routes to increase service on busier ones.
“I did not want to agree to this,” Ford told reporters speaking about the fare hike. “I am not happy about this.”
Ford says he wants to find another option rather than raise transit fares including asking other departments, including the police, to reduce their requests for increases.
However, as of today the recommendation is the TTC raise fares on Feb. 1 including: Adult tokens going up 10 cent to $2.60, Metropasses increasing to $126. Student and senior ticket prices would increase 10 cents to $1.75 and student Metropasses would rise to $104. Children’s fares would remain unchanged.
There would also be service reductions on 48 bus routes including: Royal York 73B no service after 7 p.m. Leaside 56 no service after 10 p.m. Mon-Sat. Forest Hill 33 no service after 7 p.m. Mon-Fri and no service on the weekends or holidays. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged 10, budget, cents, city, fare, hike, increase, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, Mayor, Paula Fletcher, Rob Ford, Town Crier, TTC
Solid waste budget gets additional cash to avoid trash rate hike
Millions saved during summer strike diverted to garbage department
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Oct. 28 for Town Crier.)
Call it the garbage fee hike that never was.
Toronto city council couldn’t stomach implementing a proposed two percent increase for trash fees so soon after a strike that saw garbage collection suspended for 39 days.
The fee would generate an additional $4.8 million for the solid waste management department to implement additional waste diversion programs such as additional reuse centres for old mattresses and furniture to be recycled or sold rather than tossed in landfill. The proposed fee hike would have meant an additional $4-8 per bin depending on the size.
But instead of raising garbage rates, the city approved using $4.8 million out of the $36.1 million “saved” during this summer’s strike for the garbage department’s 2010 budget to hold the line on fees. Continue reading
Posted in garbage
Tagged $4.8 million, city council, Councillor Karen Stintz, fee, garbage, Geoff Rathbone, hike, Kris Scheuer, Mayor David Miller, rate, rebates, savings, Solid Waste Management, Strike, Toronto, Town Crier, vote
City to add millions to garbage budget to avoid fee hike
Proposal was to raise rates by two percent in 2010
By Kris Scheuer
(Oct. 29 update here.)
City council voted today to apply $4.8 million from money saved during this summer’s strike towards the garbage department’s budget.
While the city saved money in some departments during the 39-day labour dispute, in other areas it cost them more in overtime pay and legal costs.
Overall, the city came out $36.1 million ahead. Today city politicians debated what to do with that money: issue rebates, put it into general revenue or use part of it to off set proposed garbage fee hikes.
In the end, council voted 22-19 to apply nearly $5 million to Toronto’s garbage department budget to avoid a proposed two percent hike in rates for 2010.
The motion put forth by Councillor Karen Stintz passed after hours of debate.
For more on this story, please click here for update.
So what do you think? Was this the right use of $4.8 million?